Text excerpt from log report for Day 5:

Chinese people have been coming to California since the Gold Rush in 1848. At the beginning, most of them found jobs in the ongoing railroad construction projects. The immigration of the Chinese had been promoted by the pre-existing, close trade relations (mainly spices) between the United States and China. However, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prevented further immigration of Chinese and imposed restrictions on those Chinese that already lived in the United States. They were barred from working in key industries and could not obtain U.S. citizenship at all. During the Second World War the social status of the Chinese improved because they fought together with other Americans against Japan.

Picture: Ethnic minorities in the U.S.: Native Americans

The Chinese Exclusion Act was finally annulled by President F.D. Roosevelt in 1943. To prevent a surge in immigration numbers, no more than 105 Chinese per year were allowed to immigrate to the U.S. This numerical cap was canceled in 1965. But in the meantime, immigration from other Asian countries had begun. It culminated during the Korean War (1950 - 1953). After 1965, the U.S. experienced yet another intense immigration wave from Asia, which peaked as a result of the Vietnam War (1964 - 1975). The Chinese who came during those years were mainly from northern China and spoke Mandarin. Many of them were bankers or engineers, while earlier Chinese immigrants had primarily been farmers from China's poorer south. Apart from the linguistic distinction, there were also considerable social differences between these immigrants. Today, 9.6 % of the Californians are of Asian origin. Altogether, 40 % of all Asian-Americans live in California.

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